The climate crisis will not be solved unless we make changes — personal, social, economic and political. We know that if we continue to burn fossil fuels, temperatures will rise to unacceptable levels within our lifetimes. Indeed, New Mexico is already in a megadrought, and forests are disappearing due to wildfire, drought and beetle infestation. So far this year, we have received less than half of the normal precipitation.

What part can UNM play in addressing the climate crisis? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Stop burning natural gas to produce electrical power, heat and cool the campus. By redesigning our Ford Utility Building and Yale utility plant to use only renewable electricity, provided by PNM or by a community solar project, for campus utilities, we will reduce campus-generated greenhouse gases.
  2. As our fossil-fuel burning vehicles end their lives, purchase only electric, zero-carbon vehicles, including campus buses.
  3. Install electrical vehicle chargers in campus parking lots.
  4. Install more solar panels on buildings for both electrical generation and for heating.
  5. Expand upon the composting program at La Posada for all UNM food needs.
  6. Make climate awareness a part of our teaching curriculum.
  7. Fund research projects that attempt to solve the climate change problem.
  8. Divest from investments in fossil fuel production and invest in renewable energy companies.
  9. Help people who work in the fossil fuel industry to develop the skills necessary for a zero-carbon economy.

UNM must show leadership in overcoming our carbon addiction. We can be leaders in addressing this existential crisis. If not us, who? If not now, when?

Walter Gerstle, Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering

Sofia Jenkins-Nieto, UNM Student

Raina Harper, ASUNM Senator